with it a statement of the fact that Major Huse admitted both to Major Ferguson and Captain North that he had received some commissions on Government purchases since he had been here, which he intended to apply to the payment of his expenses here and the purchase of a library to send as a present to the Ordnance Bureau, at a cost of $ 1,000 to $ 1,500. Hearing these reports, Mr. Mason spoke to Major Huse about them, and he said in reply that he had in one instanmmission which he intended to apply to his expenses and the purchase of books for the Ordnance Bureau, but finding the Government so much pressed for money he had paid the amount over to the credit of his account with Isaac, Campbell & Co.
I cannot help from looking at this in connection with the reports I hear of goods bought at 5 per cent. and charged at 65 per cent. -although I can gain no absolute evidence of these facts - and especially with the proof that I have that he opposes my arrangements because they take the business out of the hands of a house who proposed to bribe one of our officers. Mr. White, a commissioner sent here by the State of North Carolina, who has had some opportunity of seeing something of Isaac, Campbell & Co., informs me that he entertains of them the same opinion that I do; nor have I seen any man since my arrival here who would say a good word for them except Major Huse. I understand that Mr. Slidell has expressed the opinion in opposition to the arrangement entered into by me. If such is the case it is that Major Huse has prejudiced him as he did Captain Bulloch, by a partial or incorrect statement of the facts, and I have entire confidence that if I had the same opportunity to show him all the facts that he would with the same candor that Captain Bulloch displayed frankly admit that his previous opposition had been based on an incorrect statement of the facts. Major Huse will probably write you that he would cheerfully co-operate with me if there was sufficient Government funds on hand, but from what I know of the financial condition of the Government I have every confidence that in the present condition of the Erlanger loan there would be no difficulty in raising any reasonable amount of money on it if it were under the control of a party who was really anxious to serve the interest of our Government, which I do not believe Major Huse is. I sincerely believe if this loan was properly managed now it would form a basis by which to furnish our Government with all the means in England which it would require during the war. Of course, to do this a few hundred thousand pounds should be borrowed on the loan and invested in fifteen or twenty steamers, and contracts made for the building of ten others to take their places in the event of loss or capture. If this was done immediately we could rely in three or four months upon a quantity of cotton which would reimburse the cost of the steamers before the amount borrowed will be payable by the Erlanger on the contract. Money is very abundant and cheap here, but to command it satisfactorily securities must be presented. No security could be more satisfactory than this contract, the 25 per cent. already paid guaranteeing the prompt payment of the other installments as they mature. It is therefore with much regret that I see the means arising from this loan are to be frittered away without accomplishing any permanent good, and that in a little time our Government will be forced to come upon the market with another loan. It may, and I trust it will, be successful, but it is an operation that will not bear repeating too often.
35 R R - SERIES IV, VOL II